Part of being an artist means knowing places in your city where you can go for inspiration. These are the spots most mentioned by the artists in The Tall Trees of Paris: 42 Independent Artists Share Their City and Their Work by Matt Wagner.
1. Palais de Tokyo (established in 2002) is located on the banks of the Seine in an enormous shell of a palace created for the 1937 International Exhibition of Arts and Technology. This self-named “anti-museum” features an ever-changing array of art on the frontlines of contemporary creativity. Besides housing art that can’t be seen anywhere else, the museum and its giant bookshop (a favorite of many of the artists) are both open every day until midnight.
2. Centre Pompidou is a 20th century creative hive which houses, among many other cultural institutions, the Musée national d'art moderne/Centre de création industrielle—the largest modern and contemporary art collection in Europe (100,000 works from 1905 until today), including a design and architecture collection. Artists who call these walls home range from Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso to Cindy Sherman and Andy Warhol. Centre Pompidou is a tech-heavy construction, an oddity in the Parisian skyline, whose design National Geographic called a building that engenders “love at second sight.” Here’s a mesmerizing video of the museum’s collection
3. Musée d’Orsay was previously the Orsay train station, designed in the theatrical Beaux-Arts style for the Universal Exhibition of 1900. Its collections of western art from 1848 to 1914 came primarily from the Louvre, the Musée du Jeu de Paume, and the National Museum of Modern Art (not to be confused with the Musée national d'art moderne at the Centre Pompidou). Its luminous architecture and diverse collection, including painting, sculpture, decorative arts, graphic arts, photography, and architecture exhibitions, earned it a spot on Lonely Planet’s list of “ten best museums in the world.”
For more recommendations on artistic hangouts in Paris, including lots more museums, parks, and bars, check out The Tall Trees of Paris by Matt Wagner.